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#1 Aram

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 07:41 PM

Hello,

After I presented myself in that forum section, now I can post my first question. To those who didn't read my presentation, I kinda explain it again here but just in a few words: I'm a graphic designer and programmer and have being relatively new to a hobby I really love, making japanese swords. For all it takes, I had a very nice guidance from japanese people expert in swords and swordmaking. However I have a problem with the fittings as follows:

a) The "normal" mounting of a katana for instance has at least two pieces that are commonly carved or engraved in silver, copper, brass, iron and even gold.

B ) These fittings are commonly like "rings", with about 1cm height and 3 to 4cm diameter; they are oval instead round.

c) The way I see from originals, except the iron pieces that seems to be forged, is that they are made in a straight or flat strip, then curved and soldered from the inside.

d) In any case, these fittings sports a really nice carving or engraving, despite sometimes too simple --because the Zen thing I guess.

So then comes my problem. I know how to do the pieces, I use copper from water and/or A/C piping, flat it to have a sheet, then cut the pieces, shape and solder them with tin. So far I have done about 6 pieces without hassles. However:

a) I don't have a clue about how to carve the material to make the motiffs I would design

B ) I don't have any tools I see in this forum and others, those chisels, scrappers, etc. In fact I will need to make them myself because we have no access to those, at all, here.

c) More important: I don't have a clue where to start!!!

So I need help, guidance...what I need as materials? Can I still use copper from pipes? What basic tools I need to have, can I do them myself? What are the basic basic carving techniques, should I pinch and push a "rod" against the metal, or should I pull it?

Hope someone can let me know. I'm looking a way to expand my hobby which by the way is personal; I don't sell the blades despite sometimes I get the request.

Cheers

Aram

p.s. by the way, I learned how to engrave the steel I use in my blades, using non toxic etching. The thing works nicely and quite fast (3~5 minutes) using water, table salt and a DC power supply. However for some reason it doesnt eat copper, so I can't use it for the fittings.

This is an example of the fittings I see out there, I seriously want to learn how to do that!

Attached Image: 001.jpg

#2 DanM

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 08:45 PM

There are a few threads in the Metal section of the forum.There is much more in several of the better knife making forums.You may want to check the threads on our friend Don Fogg's forum.

My link

Fittings

#3 Aram

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 02:27 AM

View PostDanM, on 12 September 2011 - 08:45 PM, said:

There are a few threads in the Metal section of the forum.There is much more in several of the better knife making forums.You may want to check the threads on our friend Don Fogg's forum.

My link

Fittings

Hi DanM, thank you for the links. I see the one in Fittings, however it misses the part I'm precisely looking for :) I know how to build the fittings, and actually I'm using almost the same method shown there, but when he says "I sculpt wind and leaves..." <== there is where I'm stuck! "sculpt the metal..." How is it done? Chisel and hammer? A cutter to eat the material by scratches? How thick the material should be to make a noticeable but not too much motiff?

In the link he explains about doing an insert or inlay --don't know the proper way to call it. But I'm looking for doing something to the whole piece, like the following I found when doing my research. I need to know how that stuff is made, explained like feeding a children with a small spoon :)

Here some examples of the ones I found...that the stuff I want to learn...the carving/engraving of motiffs in copper, etc. Heck, I don't even know how many mm the motiffs are raised or lowed :(

Attached Image: 003.jpg
Attached Image: 010.jpg
Attached Image: 022.jpg

Sorry for bothering with newbie questions

#4 Janel

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 05:15 AM

Hello Aram,

Jim Kelso's web site contains tutorials that show some of his tools. They are not how-to tutorials for what you wish to be doing, but will introduce you to some of the tools you may eventually learn to use.

In the Getting Started and Resources are of this forum you will find this topic: Art Metalworking Techniques and Tutorials How is it done? Tom Sterling created a series of PDFs that focus on metal working techniques. These are distillations of topics that could also be found in TCP's archives from years past. The SEARCH function may also work for you investigations.

The metals folks have been quite around here for a while, but perhaps they will respond to your questions in time.

And, as I mentioned in my welcome message to you, you may find a group of folks who might be helpful to your quest here.

I understand the need you have, knowing that you are so ready to take this step with carving metals and not quite having enough of the right information or guidance as the catalyst that will open the floodgate for you. I hope you soon find what you need to know to get you started on your carving metals quest.

Janel
Teachers open doors, you enter by yourself. Chinese proverb
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. ~ Goethe ~


Janel Jacobson's web site

#5 Aram

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 04:57 PM

View PostJanel, on 13 September 2011 - 05:15 AM, said:

Hello Aram,

Jim Kelso's web site contains tutorials that show some of his tools. They are not how-to tutorials for what you wish to be doing, but will introduce you to some of the tools you may eventually learn to use.

In the Getting Started and Resources are of this forum you will find this topic: Art Metalworking Techniques and Tutorials How is it done? Tom Sterling created a series of PDFs that focus on metal working techniques. These are distillations of topics that could also be found in TCP's archives from years past. The SEARCH function may also work for you investigations.

The metals folks have been quite around here for a while, but perhaps they will respond to your questions in time.

And, as I mentioned in my welcome message to you, you may find a group of folks who might be helpful to your quest here.

I understand the need you have, knowing that you are so ready to take this step with carving metals and not quite having enough of the right information or guidance as the catalyst that will open the floodgate for you. I hope you soon find what you need to know to get you started on your carving metals quest.

Janel

Thank you Janel! Wonderful reply. I'll check these sites right away and also search for the stuff I guess I need to learn first and will post my tries so everybody have a good laugh about my newbie sloppyness :) I'm open to all sort of criticism, help, suggestions and opinions that would eventually help me to learn this art.

Cheers

Aram

p.s. I did this with acid etching, in a blade that I also did and now is polished. But the way I did it doesnt work with copper pieces.
Attached Image: Snapshot_20110830.JPG

#6 Thomas M.

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 07:59 PM

Hi Aram,

Following your PM, I understand better now what you are looking for. Which is... unfortunately the hardest thing to explain....:lol:

In order to do what you want to, you can use so many tools, chisels and hammers, gouges, punches, scrappers, files, stones, etc....depending on your raw material.

If you start from a sheet of copper fo example, you can embosse it from the back, then refine the details with small steel punches such as in the copper frog tutorial from Jim Kelso. Or else, if you do not want to thin the metal, you can follow this link, forming the sheet from the front.

You told me that you understood how inlay's were done, so now I guess the last difficult part is carving/sculpting the details. In other words, refining the roughly formed piece of work.

For that, unfortunately, I don't remember having seen or found any tutorial for metal in english (did most of my researches in french). And you want steps by steps, talking about relief and carving depth in mm, etc. I would answer, it is more about feeling and practising (guess it's not the answer you were looking for :rolleyes:) .

My suggestion is to start with wood or bone, tutorials are much more easy to find (look for relief carving) and you won't waste time or money in material or tools. It will help you as well to figure out how deep you need to go in order to get good shapes, contrasts, etc... prefer a fine grain wood (boxwood for example) in order to get small details. Once you're used to carve it, I guess you will understand how to use metal chisels and punches. Then you could think about how far you can go and play with a malleable material in order to form it before cutting into.

A good introduction in wood carving it a tutorial by Jake Powning for swords handles.

Then, for playing with colors, get started with Jim Kelso tutorials on patination.

It is a long way before being able to do things but when I see how far you've gone in forging and mounting japanese blades, I have no doubts that you will manage to follow your way.

Cheers

Thomas

PS: I think this is the first "long" text I posted in this forum and I apologize if some parts or sentences are not cristal clear (or too long). Don't hesitate to correct my english ;).
Cheers,

Thomas

#7 Aram

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 06:14 AM

Hello,

Well, after digesting a lot of information I ventured myself to do my first try. I'm adding some pictures here so you masters can see and comment. This is my very first time I get a hand engraver in my, well, hands :) In fact, I had to start by making one because I don't have a place here I can buy them. So, have a look...

Posted Image

Comments are welcome, please! I'm not supermad with the results, I wanted more "resolution", more sharpness in the details, I guess that will come by when I do finish my "try #100" heheheh. In any case, I already put the pieces in the tsuka I built.

Cheers

Aram

#8 Thomas M.

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 07:43 AM

Hi Aram,

Looks nice! But I can't see it very well. Any link to more detailed or closer pictures?

Cheers,

Thomas
Cheers,

Thomas

#9 Aram

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 01:54 AM

View PostThomas M., on 19 September 2011 - 07:43 AM, said:

Hi Aram,

Looks nice! But I can't see it very well. Any link to more detailed or closer pictures?

Cheers,

Thomas

Yeah, my camera sucks big time and the good one got kaput some months ago. I'll try to get better pics next. Well I still have a question/problem: I don't know how "deep" is deep enough to make the details visible :( I did this tsuba, I used steel from a discarded truck engine seat, not too hard but kinda of :D...I'm not remotely fond with the results :( needs more depth? What you guys suggest?

Cheers

Aram

Posted Image

#10 Thomas M.

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 07:49 AM

Hi Aram,

I see your problem, the design of the tsuba may be nice but you need to work on the background. Lower it down and keep the trunk of the tree in relief.

I strongly suggest you to go and have a look to THIS TUTORIAL from Jim Kelso which explains exactly how to engrave a tsuba (with dimensions, technical, etc...).

By the way, I love your pine tree.

Cheers,

Thomas
Cheers,

Thomas

#11 Aram

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 04:12 PM

Now I have a new question :) I have being reading this forum, about tools, but it seems of course everyone loves what they use and it is very difficult to get an online review like I see for instance for graphic design software, in which we can see the pro and the cons of the major competitors, etc. As a luck hit :) a friend of mine in UK wants to gift me a power tool for carving/engraving and told me to tell him my list. My first impulse was the Lindsay AirGraver in part because I see I can use my 25L compressor I already have, however the issue is like other people found: it is very pricey.

Then I found nGraver, GRSTools, System 3, TurboGraver, etc. I wonder if someone could share me some light on which powertool would be fine to do what I'm trying to do. My friend insists on gifting me and should be a power tool. I liked for instance nGraver's Magnum or Monarch, and also the Lindsay. GRSTools seems to need their touch controls and compressor?

And also: if these tools works for me, do I need to purchase the "tips" separately, ie, chisels?

What do you reommend? I know engraving doesnt need any power tool but just a handpiece and elbow grease :) But, well, my friend kindly insists, and I likewise kind want to keep the whole price very low.

Cheers

Aram

p.s. I did read all the posts about tools in this forum, the first 4 or 6 pages...

#12 DanM

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 09:08 PM

You may want to check the reviews and comments on an engraving forum,this one is somewhat unbiased on types or equipment.

Engraver's Cafe

#13 Aram

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 09:55 PM

View PostThomas M., on 20 September 2011 - 07:49 AM, said:

Hi Aram,

I see your problem, the design of the tsuba may be nice but you need to work on the background. Lower it down and keep the trunk of the tree in relief.

I strongly suggest you to go and have a look to THIS TUTORIAL from Jim Kelso which explains exactly how to engrave a tsuba (with dimensions, technical, etc...).

By the way, I love your pine tree.

Cheers,

Thomas

Well I "erased" what I did in that tsuba...got a file and erased the whole tree thing. It was just no good to me, so I will try again and post the pics.

#14 Robert Palmer

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 07:20 PM

Aran I am late to your post. For what is is worth always buy the best tool, even when you do not believe you can afford it because in the end it is the cheapest best tool there is. (if serious about your work) Second, your Tree design was great. But more then a good design it is a record of future progress. Rather then reworking designs remake them, bottom line everything you make should be the best you are capable of at that time, if not you are seeking Brownie Points rather then creating because you must. Your work shows great potential, stick with it. Thank you for allowing me to look over your shoulder and comment. Ragnar



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